Besides deciding what kind of educational approach will best serve their young child, many parents also face the choice of whether to choose a part-time daycare or preschool
or to pursue a full-time program. When at least one parent has the ability to stay at home, it's natural to consider both options. However, full-time daycare is a necessity for many working parents, whose schedules make part-time daycare unfeasible.
While full-time child care and preschool might reduce parent-child bonding time, there is no evidence that they substantially impact the parent-child relationship (as long as parents spend quality time with their infant or toddler after daycare). Full-time preschools also give parents far more flexibility to work without worrying about whether their child's needs are being met. Indeed, most full-time home daycares and child care centers offer extended hours, allowing parents to drop-off their child before work and pick them up after work.
Some may worry that their child will tire out or otherwise have problems being away from home a whole day, but most often, the structure and consistency that a full-time daycare and preschool creates a comfortable and enjoyable early learning environment for children. Additionally, children attending full-time daycare centers are more regularly exposed to the benefits of early education in general, such as socializing, practicing concepts like sharing, collaborating with others, cleaning up after themselves, pre-academic activities, etc. While these can be all done at home, a quality full-time preschool or daycare will follow a curriculum that ensures all of the important bases are covered regularly.
Pre-academic development is also more easily guided in a full-time child care setting, when it is much easier for teachers to touch upon all of the domains of early learning. Of course, children who attend a part-time daycare are not necessarily disadvantaged, but they may require extra stimulation from parents to achieve particular skill development milestones. Full-time daycare and preschool programs come in all shapes and sizes, from small in-home daycares
with a play-based philosophy
to larger child care centers
, or academically-oriented preschools
. Finally, full-time daycare and preschool programs will always be more expensive than a part-time equivalent, so families with flexibility should weigh the benefits of full-time care against the additional cost.